A wave of unstable weather hurled its fury causing over 60 tornadoes to assail North Carolina in the United States and left at least 45 people dead on Saturday, April 16, 2011. A massive storm system with heavy winds and severe thunderstorms set off more than 60 tornadoes and flattened areas in and around Raleigh. The storms ripped homes from foundations, unearthed trees, and swept vehicles, livestock, and even people into the air. Eyewitnesses reported to local news stations that the scene was "just like the Wizard of Oz." Residents of Bladen and Bertie counties were the hardest hit by the storm's most powerful tornadoes with a total of 21 deaths reported in the pair of rural counties.
The unstable weather pattern which caused the tremendous devastation within North Carolina began on Thursday in Oklahoma and tore across southern portions of the U.S. before making its way to North Carolina and Virginia on Saturday. The storms caused massive destruction and left two Oklahoma residents dead, seven dead in Arkansas, seven dead in Alabama, seven dead in Virginia, and one dead in Mississippi. Authorities expect the death count to rise as debris is cleared and neighborhoods hardest hit by the storm are cleaned up.
Governor Bev Perdue declared a state of emergency upon touring areas hardest hit by the storm. President Barack Obama has pledged to do "whatever it takes to rebuild North Carolina."